Computer Software to Avoid Development of Harmful DNA


Battelle’s ThreatSEQ can now efficiently identify the DNA combination that can be hazardous for both –animal host and people. The system is already the recipient of many awards. With this software, scientists can now scan multiple databases containing more than 10,000 DNA sequence that are hazardous.

According to Omar Tabbaa, director of computational biotechnology, Battelle, the database includes an essential sequence of concerning DNA. He refers to these sequences as “meat and potatoes” of the database. ThreatSEQ can scan 3 categories of DNA sequences namely, restricted pathogens database containing the sequence of concerns, the database of unknown pathogen’s sequence, and generic protein database. Tabbaa also added that whether the scan doesn’t hit any category mentioned above, they still want to know what they are producing.

How does the ThreatSEQ Help Categorize Hazardous DNA?

When scanned, ThreatSEQ ranks the matched DNA to concerned pathogens with a known sequence as Tier 1. DNA matching the database of the restricted sequence of partially concerning holds the rank of Tier 2. Finally, totally non-concerning DNA matches come under Tier 3. The last threat tier encompasses the DNA which has at least one 200 base pair segment. This segment is then matched with the best possible alignment of the genome of the pathogens.

The user interface of ThreatSEQ delivers users with the sequencing ranking coupled with the information about the matched DNA sequence. It makes it easier for the users to work accordingly preventing any possibility of producing any further hazardous DNA and pathogens.

It took nearly 10 years of research to develop this software, says Battelle. The research includes studying more than 10,000 sequences of concerning DNA consisting 850 distinguish sequence with the pathogen of concerns, 96 viruses, 75 species of bacteria, and 12 eukaryotic pathogens. The research also includes other pathogens also that contribute to pathogenesis.